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The intensification of repression in Iran while tensions in the region and the risk of war are mounting

Image for women and prison2With the escalation of tensions between the dictatorial theocratic regime of Iran and the right wing and fascist government of the United Sates, the spectre of a devastating war, with the agitations on both sides, is moving over Iran and the Middle East and causes worries for the people and the progressive forces of Iran and the world. This is taking place at a time when in Iran, due to the anti-democratic economic policies the living conditions, the peoples’ livelihood, is constantly declining, and the people, upset with the inflation and high prices, face many difficulties in providing the life necessities, and in addition, are bearing the burden of the imposed sanctions as well.

Today, the destructive and dangerous acts are replacing the rhetorical threats by both sides, especially by the Trump’s quasi-fascist government. These acts are threatening the peace in the region and this conflict situation is pleasing the warmongers on both sides. Experience has shown that the reactionary and anti-democratic policies of the regressive regimes, not only protects the interest of their authoritarian and repressive regimes but also works and is in line with the interest of imperialism. On the other hand, the US destructive and dangerous policies and actions, including imposing sanctions and creating tensions, serve and are in line with the interest of the reactionary and repressive regime of Iran.

Thus, the tyrannical regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran which from two years ago, specially from December of 2017, is facing wide popular protests, has welcomed the tense and dangerous atmosphere and in order to avoid the collapse of its shaking bases, has launched further suppression against social and trade union activists. Systemic corruption and the deepening gap between the poor and the rich, which is the result of the implementation of neo-liberal economic policies, along with the astronomical embezzlements that every so often find its way to the official media, as a result of internal power struggles, along with rampant inflation and the high cost of the basic necessities such as housing, food, etc., day by day push increasing number of people under the line of poverty. At the same time, this has resulted in protest movements by the lower strata of the society and the working class such as the workers, teachers, and the pensioners, which continues despite all the suppression.

Even the cronies of the theocratic regime cannot deny the economic, political and social crises that Iran is faced with. As the food basket of the people shrinks, the general manager of the Office of Nutrition Improvement under the Ministry of Health states: eight provinces of the country are facing with food supply insecurity; specially in the poor provinces such as Sistan and Baluchistan, Kohgilooyeh and Booyerahmad, Eelam, Hormozgaan, Khoozestan, Kerman, and the south Khorasan province. He deems unemployment, low-income, and drought and water shortage, poverty and illiteracy as the main reasons of this situation (ILNA, July 31, 2019).

But the theocratic regime and its dictatorial and anti-democratic structure, as always see the solution in further suppression and violation of the peoples’ rights and freedoms, by taking advantage of the tensions and conflict in the region and widespread arrests and repression of activists who call for an end to oppression, poverty, discrimination and inequality. Due to these arrests, the prisons of the country are full of women and men, freedom fighters, trade union and civil rights activists, university students, teachers, religious minorities, democratic lawyers, environmental activists, and journalists.

According to reports by prisoners’ families, hunger strikes by political prisoners are on-going, and the prisoners continue to sacrifice their lives to pursue their humanist ideals. In recent days there have been reports of the hunger strike of Sepideh Gholian, in protest at the prison guards’ degrading treatment of her elderly parents, the hunger strike of Sanaz Allahyari and Amir Hossein Mohammadifar (journalist couples) or Hakimeh Ahmadi (Civil activist from Azabayjan). While these are taking place the international community is silent.

Let us not forget that the massacre of more than four thousand political prisoners by the theocratic regime of Iran in August and September of 1988 on the eve of the end of the Iran-Iraq war, was also committed in full silence of the international community. Given the developments in cyberspace and communications, today’s situation is in no way comparable to 31 years ago.

Autocracy in Iran has repeatedly showed that its suppression does not differentiate between men and women: from the heavy sentences for the democratic lawyers such as Nasrin Sotoudeh (38 years) , Amir Salar Davoudi who recently was sentenced to 30 years and 111 lashes, or the civil activists such as Yasmin Ariaee, Manizheh Arabshahi and Mozhgan Keshavarz who in total were sentenced to 55 years prison term for protesting the compulsory covering (Hijab) for women and giving flowers to women in Tehran’s subway, to the heavy sentences issued for the teachers trade union activists such as Esmail Abdi and Mohammad Habibi and etc.

The arrests in recent months and the heavy sentences passed on activists for voicing their opinion or peaceful struggle, under the pretext of security risks, happen under circumstances in which the progressive public opinion in the country and around the world are gravely worried about the situation in the region and the consequences of a possible devastating war. The spread of the arrests and the intensification of suppression of activists proves that for the leaders of the theocratic regime of Iran, the best context for their cynical survival is to take advantage of threat of war.

The names of some of the arrested people in recent months are as follows:

Farangis Mazloom, Mother of Soheil A’raabi, political prisoner

Asrin Kaleh, Women and Human Rights Activist

Marzieh Amiri, Anisha Asadollahi, Neda Naji and Atefeh Rangraz, arrested during the May 1st (Labour Day) gatherings

Sepideh Gholian and the journalist couples Sanaz Allahyari and Amir Hossein Mohammadifar, defendants in the judicial file of Haft-Tapeh strike who presently are on hunger strike

Leila Hosseinzadeh, Secretary of the Central Student Council of Tehran University

Parisa Rafiee and Saba Kord Afshari, Human Rights Activists and former political prisoners

Naheed Shaghaghi, Women’s rights activist who was arrested for hiking without wearing the veil (Hijab)

Hakimeh Ahmadi, Human Rights Activist from Azerbaijan

Sepideh Moradi, Elham Ahmadi, Shokoofeh Yadollahi, Dervish women, imprisoned in Section 7 of Gharechak Varaamin prison

Sima and Shima Entesari, two sisters, held in Section 1 of Gharechack Varaamin prison

Hengameh Shahidi, Journalist, sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment

Niloofar Bayani and Sepideh Kashani, Environmental Activists, along with 4 male activists, has been detained “temporarily” in Revolutionary Guard Torture centres for more than 4 year now

Yasamin Ariaee, Manizheh Arabshahi and Mozhgan Keshavarz, charged with protests against the compulsory veil (Hijab) and giving flowers to women on Tehran’s subway. Sentenced to a total of 55 years in prison

Sadigheh Moradi and Mehdi Khavas Sefat, the couple who are former political prisoners, were arrested on July 7, 2019 by the security forces in Tehran

Maryam Mohammadi, Akram Nasirian, Aras Amiri, Sepideh Farhan, … and the list goes on.

Even though this list is not complete and does not cover many of the detainees outside Tehran, or those prisoners whose relatives for one reason or another, under threats by security forces, do not officially release the prisoner’s names. It is just a snapshot of the intensification of suppression in Iran.

Courageous women political prisoners, like their male counterparts, show resistance against the torturers and their masters: the misogynist and despotic theocratic regime of Iran. Prisoners such as Nargess Mohammadi, Atena Daemi, Zeinab Jalalian, Sepideh Gholian, and Nasrin Sotoodeh, and hundreds of others, are incarcerated in Iran’s prisons, and their number is increasing by the day. Defending all the political and civil prisoners, regardless of their political tendencies, has become one of the effective means of struggle beside that of the masses for social and economic change, against the regime and against war. By connecting these struggles with the general struggle of the Iranian people, we can get rid of dictatorship, war, and injustice in Iran.

Let us be the voice of the political prisoners of Iran!

We conclude with a quotation from the brave and steadfast Ms. Nargess Mohammadi, a civil and human rights activist, who wrote, in a letter, from the notorious Evin prison in Tehran:

Dictatorship and war are the two sides of the same coin in destructing the societies, and their obvious common denominator is violence. Thus, the same way and with the same power that we have stood and will stand against war and violence, we have a mission that retreating from it would never be justified, and that is to fight against the dictatorial regime. For many years, we have witnessed repression and oppression, which has resulted in endless and limitless systematic corruption of the rulers and increasing poverty and marginalization of the people, lack of freedom of expression and opinion, imprisonment and arrests, silencing the opponents and critics. (August 2019)

MaZanan 23.09.2019

The Struggle in Workplaces to Eliminate Discrimination against Working Women

In recent years, the Iranian women have been persistently fighting for their violated and trampled rights in many arenas. They have street vendors in Gilan Irancampaigned against compulsory hijab (head and body covering), Retribution Bill (equal retaliation as punishment for an offence, in Islamic jurisprudence and penal law), the so-called “Family Support” bill which legalizes the lack of rights of women, child marriage, gender segregation (in schools, buses, and other public places), domestic violence and other cases of violence against women, and child abuse. The Iranian women have relentlessly fought for the equal rights in education, the right to go to sport stadiums and attend public sport events, and to defend the rights of the children. Other important struggles of the Iranian women have been in the areas such as, but not limited to, equal rights with men, equal pay for equal work, equal employment opportunity, and pension and health care services, particularly for marginalized women. Read the rest of this entry »

Iranian Women and Gender Discrimination

In recent years that the capitalist system has increasingly put the burden of its crises on the shoulders of women, we have witnessed the demo bannerdeterioration of the living and working conditions of women across the world. The owners and holders of wealth and power try to overcome and go through the crises by intensifying the exploitation of women in every aspect, but our sisters have risen all around the world and have raised their voice of protest in every possible opportunity.
The women’s struggle is not only for women, but is a struggle for all the humanity to realize a humane life, freedom, equality, and social justice. It is essential that all humans who believe in equality, freedom, and social justice join in this struggle. A society whose half of population is not free and is under various pressures and political, social, economic, and social discriminations cannot be a free and democratic society. In a society where there is no equal rights and freedom for women, the concepts of democracy and social justice are meaningless and unreal. Read the rest of this entry »

Pain and Suffering of Iranian Children

The murder of several little girls in recent weeks, has drawn media’s attention to the suffering of children, the unprecedented increase in the rate of child marriage and the appalling social damage caused by child abuse  Iran. These are only a small part of the social problems related to the children that surface in the media. They are rooted in poverty and unemployment, combined with ignorance, cultural poverty, and policies based on the traditionalist and reactionary views of the ruling regime in Iran. Combined with an absence of legal and stat

young boy in hospital

e protection for children, these conditions exacerbate social problems and the suffering of the children in Iran.
According to the statistics, children make up 24 million of Iran’s population (according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, anyone below the age of eighteen years is defined as a child). Sociologists deem children as the most defenseless and vulnerable individuals in a society. The Convention states, “The Convention states that everyone under the age of 18 (the definition of a child), regardless of gender, origin, religion or possible disabilities, needs special care and protection because children are often the most vulnerable.”
Despite signing the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Iran’s theocratic regime has taken no steps towards it. The Child Protection Act has been gathering dust in the bureaucracy of the parliament for years. The regime persecutes organisations that genuinely promote the rights of children, it conceals and obstructs the publication of data on the harm done to children and works towards removing the subject from the agenda of periodic international meetings on the rights of children, and it tries to present fake statistics. In Read the rest of this entry »

Widening Gender Divide and Increasing Impoverishment of Women

One of the most telling indicators of economic, political and cultural development, gender equality and the empowerment of women, isstreet vendors in Gilan Iran women’s share of economic resources and their influence in the country’s economy. According to agreements and official documents of international gatherings on women, ‘promoting development, eradicating poverty, promoting and achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment are among effective factors for the realisation of human rights (World Conference on Women, 1995), and governments have a duty to plan for these and to implement them.

Therefore, one of the most important indicators of development is the rate of employment among women and its effect on the country’s economy. From this point of view, Iran has a deplorable rating, even among the countries of the region. Read the rest of this entry »

8th of March, the day of solidarity of women all over the world

Jam'iat_e_nesvan_e_vatan-khah01The Democratic Organisation of Iranian Women issued a statement on the International Women’s Day: “Greetings to all hard-working women, on the occasion of 8th March, the day of solidarity with the struggle of women the world over, for freedom from sexual and class exploitation, for a better world, free from poverty, violence, war and exploitation, a world of equal rights.
The 8th of March is not only a reminder of the relentless struggle of workers for their rights against discrimination and inequality, but also an occasion to honour a century and a half of women’s movement with its successes and setbacks – a movement whose achievements have changed the face of the world in the interest of working and deprived people, especially women.
This day is also irrevocably linked with the name and memory of its founder, Clara Zetkin, one of the renowned leaders of the German communist and working class movement. For the first time, in the conference of socialist women in 1910, she proposed this day as the day of commemoration of the women workers in USA who had been gunned down by the police to protect the interests of capitalism. In the following year, in 1911, the second international accepted this proposal and since then, the international women’s day has been commemorated by progressive women in different countries, as their conditions allow.
The 8th March is not merely a day of celebration, it is the day of renewal of our resolve to uphold the values for which the world’s communists and progressives, and women at their helm, have fought:  freedom from sexual and class exploitation. Today, more than 150 years after its inception, this struggle of women worldwide has had immense achievements such as raising awareness about the role of women in society, it has succeeded in bringing about the preliminary conditions for ending sexual inequality, such as ending numerous misogynistic laws in patriarchal societies, and the realisation of the social, economic and political rights of women in many countries in the world. In addition, the effective role of women in the anti-war movement, against poverty and violence and for the environment, has turned women’s movement into an effective force in political developments in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

The poor reduced to sheltering in Graves, and the Regime’s Response

In recent weeks the scenes of destitute men, women and children taking shelter from the bitter cold in empty graves has shocked the people of grave-dwellersIran. In December 2016, the daily Shahrvand reported that in the Municipality of Shariar in Western Province of Tehran, the cold of winter has forced around 50 homeless people who usually sleep in cardboard covers, to take shelter in 20 of the 300 graves that have been prepared for burials in the large scale graveyard of Nasir Abad Baghestan. The reporter found 3-4 people occupying each of the graves that are 1.5 meters deep. Some homeless families live in tents in the area around the graveyard or under the viaduct. The homeless shelter here during the night. In the course of the day they leave their meagre belongings in the graves and try to source food or beg in the surrounding area. Their belongings which consist of torn blankets or clothes are prone to being stolen by other grave-dwellers. These graves are a short distance from those that house the dead following daily burials nearby.
According to the cemetery’s keeper, the grave-dwellers first moved in about a month previously. The boundary wall is low enough for them to scale it and although the officials had chased them away, they would keep returning. Many of them were picked up by the police and moved to ‘camps’ (for the homeless) but they escaped and returned to the graveyard. He also thought that: “nearly all of them are drug addicts. There are two women and an 8 year old child. They are also addicts. Opposite the cemetery, 100 meters away, there is also an old woman with two sons and her daughters-in-law and grand-children living in a tent. The old woman and one of her sons are addicts. There are more of them. A bit further along, under the bridge, there are a couple who have come from the provinces. They also live in a tent but they aren’t addicts.” Read the rest of this entry »

Mass dismissal of Women Workers in Iran

Based on the official statistics, 43 thousand women have been laid off recently while on maternity leave. The dismissal of these 43 thousand women has been officially endorsed and confirmed and as such has put the job security of working women at risk. Given the prevailing conditions women wave their right, and avoid taking maternity leave.1074861_794-1-e1476481840104
The mass dismissal of women who are in employment is happening at a time when, according to the Managing Director of the Organization of Small Industries and the Industrial Parks of Iran, there are 88,000 licensed industries in Iran, about 90 percent of which are considered small enterprises with fewer than 50 employees, and 4,500 are considered medium-sized, which employ 50 to 100 employees. Women form at least 10-20 percent of the workforce of these workplaces and another 2.8 million registered commercial units across the country.
These figures paint a clear picture of the depth of lawlessness and discrimination against women, and the poverty and hardship that women in blue and white collar jobs face because of the misogynistic and anti-worker policies of the regime. Read the rest of this entry »

Campaigns for the International Day for the Elimination of Gender-based Violence in Iran and the World

The Democratic Organisation of Iranian Women supports whole-heartedly the international campaigns against violence that are held the world over between 25th November and 10th December every year. Every year, during this period millions of people, especially progressive women, the world over, participate in the campaign that culminates on the 10th of December the day of Orange the WorldHuman Rights, and is a manifestation of the integral connection between violence against women and the breach of human rights, in other words, violence against women is the violation of human rights.
The organised struggle of women in these days have been called Orange the World and have the following aims:
Raising awareness of sexual violence and identifying it as a violation of human rights at local, regional and international levels;
Intensifying the local actions regarding sexual violence and creating transparent relations between local and international action towards an end to violence towards women;
Organising networks in which activists can devise, share and promote new strategies against sexual violence;
Raising the profile of women’s solidarity and organizing against violence against women;
Putting pressure on governments to honour their legal undertakings in the field of ending violence against women. Read the rest of this entry »

Appeal by the Mothers of Laleh Park

mothers of laale parkIn May 2016 the women who have come together under the banner Mothers of Laleh Park Iran and who have been campaigning against human rights violations in Iran, issued an open letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as shown here:

“May 2016
From: Mothers of Park Laleh Iran, (www.mpliran.net)

To:
Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Cc:
- Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations
- Mr. Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran
- Mr. Christof Heyns, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions
- Mr. Juan Mendez, UN Special Repporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- Human Rights Watch
- International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
- Iranian League for the Defence of Human Rights
- Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC)
- Amnesty International”

“We Demand an Intensive Investigation on the Violation of Human Rights in Iran and Ask for the Authorities to Be Held Accountable.
The systematic violation of human rights in Iran is beyond description and we must find a way to put an end to it. Freedom of thought and expression is virtually non-existent in our country. No dissidents, whether social and political activists, or religious minorities such as Baha’is, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Sunni, atheists and people with diverse ethnic Read the rest of this entry »